Apprentices.

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force. – in the House of Commons on 5th March 1936.

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Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the announcement of the need for new apprentices for the Royal Air Force, he will state the numbers of mechanics in the Air Force to whom within the last two years permission to re-engage for another period of 12 years has been refused after the completion of their first 12 years' service; and what is the average age of such men who have been dropped from the Royal Air Force?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

Information in the form desired is not readily available. I may say, however, that since 1st April, 1934, 794 airmen in Group I, which is the highly skilled group, have been re-engaged, 314 have been allowed to prolong their service, and 86 have been discharged or transferred to the reserve. The average age of the last mentioned would be about 30.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

Will the Under-Secretary say what assistance his Department gives to the men who are dropped from the service through no fault of their own?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I must ask for notice of that question.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air, in view of the announcement that 1,000 boys between 15 and 17 years of age will be required by the Royal Air Force for training in August and September, the number of such boys who will have a reasonable chance of making service in the force a career; and whether all of them, providing they are efficient, will be given at the conclusion of their first period of service an opportunity of re-engagement?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

The number of airmen who can be allowed to re-engage to complete time for pension is necessarily limited by the requirements of the service from time to time, and it is not practicable to give a forecast of conditions many years hence. The numbers accepted are such as to ensure to re-engaged men promotion to and employment in ranks appropriate to their qualifications and experience. Apprentice entrants not eventually accepted for re-engagement on the active list are offered entry into the reserve with a gratuity of £100.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

Cannot the Under-Secretary take steps to make industrial employment in the Royal Air Force a career instead of a possibility?

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Wentworth

Will these boys be told when they get into the Royal Air Force that they will be fed on a very inferior quality of margarine?